Text: Anonymous, [Review of the Southern Literary Messenger for August], Boston Atlas (Boston, MA), about November-December 1836, reprinted in National Banner and Nashville Whig (Nashville, TN), vol. XXIV, whole no. 1663, December 5, 1836, p. 3, col. 3


From the Boston Atlas.

Southern Literary Messenger. — The August number of this journal is upon our table. It is published monthly at Richmond, by T. W. White Esq. and is edited, we believe, by Edgar A. Poe Esq., a young man of brilliant talents and much promise. The Messenger is sustained with spirit, and contains contributions from many of the best writers in the country. The last number is embellishment with poems from Mrs. Sigourney, W. G. Simms Esq. Paulding, Dr. Bird, Mrs. Ellet of Philadelphia, and some anonymous contributors of merit. The prose articles are various and attractive, and among them we find communications from Judge Hopkinson, Lieut. Slidell, Dr. Francis Lieber, Major Henry Lee, Robert Greenlow, and Mrs. Sarah J. Hale, together with some original letters by John Randolph. Mr. Poe's poetical rhapsodies are quite qual to any thing in the works of Alfred Tennyson or John Keats. We are not admirers of this mystic poetry, but Mr[[.]] Poe has given evidence of considerable powers, which may be matured by study and practice. His versification is often incorrect, and we remember some blank verse of his, where all metrical rules were set at defiance, and some fine ideas were spoilt in the expression The following stanza from a poem entitled “The City of Sin,” could have proceeded on from high poetical impulses, but the epithet “Babylon-like” is harsh and inexpressive.

“No holy rays from heaven come down

On the long night-time of that town,

But light from out the lurid sea

Streams up the turrets silently —

Up thrones — up long-forgotten bowers

Of scupltar’d ivy and stone flowers —

Up comes — up spires — up kingly halls —

Up fanes — up Babylon-like walls —

Up many a melancholy shrine

Whose entablatures intertwine

The mask — the viol — and the vine.”

The “Critical Notices” are in general independent, just and discriminating. But Mr[[.]] Poe must be careful how he puffs the books of his contributors. It looks suspicious. The Messenger has taken a high stand among the literary periodicals of the country; and as its circulation increases, it will go on improving.





[S:0 - NBNW, 1836] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Bookshelf - Review of SLM for August 1836 (Anonymous, 1836)